Connect in the back of the net

At the present moment, waters surrounding Tottenham Hotspur are relatively calm. Harry Kane will return to full fitness in time for the North London derby, the club have eased into the knockout phase of the Champions League and their Premier League form is impressive too.

This calmness though may not last longer than the current season. It is becoming increasingly likely that Mauricio Pochettino will be the subject of several serious offers this summer, from both the Premier League and abroad.

Paris Saint-Germain are allowing the Jose Mourinho story to progress without any real comment, although it seems certain that the French club won’t actually move for the Portuguese coach.

Neymar’s main goal is to win the Ballon d’Or; unfortunately it is difficult to see a Mourinho team in Paris allow the Brazilian the freedom to achieve that success, especially in the crunch Champions League matches where it matters most.

At Tottenham, as bizarre as this sounds, you can see two players who will be on the Ballon d’Or shortlist sooner rather than later. Dele Alli and the aforementioned Kane have been given such freedom playing within the Argentine coach’s system and it hasn’t impacted on the solidity of the team in the slightest either.

Pochettino’s reputation has been on the rise for a while, his work with Espanyol was solid enough to earn appreciation in England, Southampton was his next destination where his football was excellent for a time.

It is worth noting that the Saints have yet to have a manager play as entertaining and successful football since he departed, not even Ronald Koeman.

His subsequent work in North London has been outstanding and has caught the eye of Manchester United who hold the Argentine at the very top of their managerial target list; unfortunately for them they now face continental competition.

Tottenham Hotspur’s outstanding performances against Real Madrid in the Champions League have made the world sit up and take notice, especially the way they dismantled the defending European champions at Wembley in a 3-1 victory.

The Madrid press instantly praised the tactical acumen of the former Paris-Saint Germain defender and there was a sense that those in power at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu were equally as impressed.

Manchester United admire the Argentine because of the perceived notion he can succeed on a set budget, the problem is though he has won as many titles as the Old Trafford club has since Sir Alex Ferguson departed, zero.

PSG holds a personal connection with him after he spent time in the French capital during his playing career, this seems a very good fit as he will be given an essentially bottomless pit of money to spend and he will be able to work closely with Neymar.

It is unclear whether any of these job openings will come up this summer; however it seems likely that at least one will, especially with Unai Emery having been set a target of reaching at least the semi-final of the Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur are building well for the future, but Pochettino would be well advised not to stay at the club for too long.

For as long as Daniel Levy’s tight wage structure is in place, players will try and leave the club and will cause disharmony for a certain period of time. If Dele Alli was to leave for Madrid in the summer, Pochettino would then be tasked with getting the same results out of a team with less individual quality within it, that isn’t sustainable and he could find his own stock slips as a result.

Zinedine Zidane’s job is safe for the time being, it is accepted that he has brought incredible success and consistency to a club that has lacked just that since the year 2000, however he is not untouchable. A poor run this season and failure to secure one of the two big trophies will see him placed under significant scrutiny.

For the moment, Pochettino simply has to continue working in the way he has since he arrived at Tottenham, however it is clear that offers will come and it could be sooner than expected that he has a choice to make.

For Levy and co, the struggle won’t necessarily be to keep his players, but rather to keep his coach out of the clutches of Europe’s truly elite clubs.

 

Written by Chris Winterburn

Follow Chris on Twitter @cmwinterburn

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